Improve the Quality of Translation of the English OIIQ Licensing Exam
The purpose of this letter is to register our concern regarding the quality and clarity of the English version of the licensing exam and in particular the parity of the translation with the original. Overall, this is a question of professionalism and fairness.
The English version of the OIIQ licensing exam administered on September 22, 2014, was not clearly translated. There were serious issues with the syntax, grammar, and vocabulary in the exam. The new format of the exam is entirely written. The candidates’ ability to demonstrate their knowledge and critical thinking was impeded by the quality of the translation. Before they could proceed to answering the questions, they first needed to decipher what was being asked through the poor translation. This took up valuable time and caused a lot of uncertainty. It seemed like the exam was not only attempting to evaluate the candidates’ nursing knowledge and practice, but also their decoding abilities.
While it is acknowledged that the French version of the exam is made available for consultation during the exam time, there were too many unclear questions for this to be of any reasonable use, rendering this solution impractical in view of the number of invigilators available to retrieve the French exam for consultation. It is also acknowledged that the ability to practice nursing in French is a requirement to be licensed in Quebec. This requirement was already fulfilled according to OIIQ regulations. Furthermore, the licensing exam is offered in English. Candidates are not required to write the exam in French. This offer should be followed through with a proper translation from the French to the English, in order that candidates who write the exam in English have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities and to obtain their license. This poor translation effectively creates a bias against candidates who choose to write the exam in English.
Candidates pay to go to nursing school. They work hard to graduate. They pay 597.87 dollars to write the licensing exam, not all of which is refunded if the candidate fails the exam. All candidates pay similar fees for education, training, and testing, yet some are put at a disadvantage during the exam. Candidates who write the English version of the exam should have access to an exam that is well translated and written in the same quality of language as the French version.
The English version of the exam should be submitted to a panel of English speaking (people whose mother-tongue is English) nurses who work in a variety of settings, nursing teachers, and lay people to critique the quality and clarity of the written word in order to ensure that the final version of the English exam is comprehensible and accurate.
A change is required to ensure that future candidates who write the English version of the exam have access to a clear and comprehensible exam that allows candidates an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and obtain their nursing license.